Look at these two cute people. Aren't they adorable? They have been married for more than 50 years! They know every detail of each other's lives. They have raised 4 amazing sons. And they are wonderful grandparents to 16 grandchildren and one great-grandbaby.
Honestly, I have to admit that they drive me a tiny bit crazy after a few days, but I think that's because I'm not a very gracious hostess for long term sleepovers...like three days is probably my limit. My niece says I'm like a cat. I like my space. I don't like people watching me do stuff. I don't mind snuggling, but only when I want to snuggle...otherwise, please don't snuggle me.
I set aside my catlike behavior for the week, and tried to muster up all of the warm and friendly hostess-y personality I could manage. And it was a good visit. I tried not to STRIVE for perfection and just let myself be "good enough." I didn't attempt to clean up every crumb and dust bunny that appeared. I didn't make 5 course, gourmet meals. I made meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and we even had leftovers one night. They love Blue Bell ice cream so much that I didn't even think about making a single dessert. I took naps when I needed them. I worked on DMCO music in the privacy of my own closet when I needed to. And when the situation called for spontaneity, I tossed out my To Do list and hopped in the car.
It helped that the weather cooperated and the Grs were able to enjoy absolutely every activity with no interruptions from unexpected snow storms, tornadoes, torrential downpours, or extreme heat. Thank you, Dallas weather!
The Grs are getting older. My mother-in-law has a slower pace. She tires easily. And she is less tolerant of this fast-eating, fast-talking, constantly-texting generation. My father-in-law can still hold his own on the golf course and in a Brooks Brothers store, but I noticed this time that he's struggling a bit more to hear the conversations at the far end of the dinner table. They don't like loud restaurants. They fluster easily in heavy traffic and crowds. They get ready an hour and a half before it's time to go. And they grip the door handle of the car a little too tightly every time we make a turn.
But I still love having them here.
I love that our conversation is elevated when they visit. We don't talk about frivolous things as often. There is less sarcasm. Less gossiping. Less grumpiness. Instead, there are more discussions of a spiritual nature. More contemplating the purpose of our lives. More wondering at the greatness and beauty of the earth. More gratitude for the blessings we have been given. And more compliments freely shared.
I love that we are more strict with our routines when they are visiting. We go to bed earlier. We watch less TV. Everyone makes it to the table by 7:00am for family scripture study. And we don't pretend that watching The Voice together counts as Family Home Evening on Monday nights.
I love that the Grs are such great examples of quiet and calm. They read. They ponder. They think deeply. They sit and watch the things going on around them and take in every detail. Then they write it all in their journals.
My father-in-law is a big fan of my children, especially the girls. He thinks Savannah is the most amazing, beautiful, charming thing he's ever met. He marvels at Megan's vast knowledge, her compassion for animals and her love of all things nature-related. And he is in awe of Emma's fierce determination and adventurous spirit. I think because he raised four boys, he appreciates the distinct differences he sees in these granddaughters. They love to be with him. He asks them heartfelt questions that make them dig deep for answers. He guards their secrets. And he respects their dreams. I love the way they feel cherished and safe with him. I feel that way, too.
And the Grs are fun. They have acquired an iPhone since we last saw them. So they let Craig launch them into the age of technology by downloading apps like LDS Tools, Gospel Library, and Sudoku onto their shared phone. After a week of getting tips from all of us on the joys of owning an iThing, my mother-in-law has decided she now needs her own iPhone 5C, in yellow. :)
All day Monday, I thought that I would be so relieved to have my quiet house back to normal, and my ordinary days back to normal, but at 5:00am when I dropped the Grs (and Craig) at the airport, I was a little bit sad to see them all go. They are a huge treasure in our lives, and I am so grateful for all the blessings we have because of them. We spent a great week together and we are all excited for the extended visit we'll get to have when we're in Utah in July. Thank you so much, Grs, for all that you do and the example that you are.